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September 18, 2017

It’s never too late for content strategy

We often talk about building content strategies from the ground up: first, coming up with a strategy to address your content problems, and then implementing a solution. But not all implementations happen that way. If you’ve already started implementing a new system, it’s not too late to think about content strategy—in fact, it’s crucial to make sure your new processes will be sustainable.

A content strategy can help prevent disaster.

Here are some situations where introducing a content strategy could help an implementation that’s already underway:

  • You’ve chosen a solution, but haven’t started implementing it. This is an ideal time to think about content strategy if you haven’t already. Before you spend money on tools and technologies, you still have time to evaluate whether the chosen solution will work. Developing a content strategy at this stage may also help you identify changes to the solution that will make it even better.
  • You’re in the early stages of an implementation. As you’ve started implementing a new system, you’ve realized that you don’t have all the answers you need to questions or problems you’re encountering. Taking a slight pause to think about content strategy now will help ensure that the rest of your implementation goes more smoothly. If you proceed without a strategy in place, your implementation may not be as successful as you expect, or address the problems it needs to resolve.
  • Your implementation isn’t going according to plan. If you’re in the middle of an implementation and encountering lots of unexpected challenges or roadblocks, it’s time to take a step back and think about content strategy. This is true whether you started with a strategy and need to reconsider it, or whether you’re just introducing a strategy for the first time. Looking at the problems you’ve faced during your implementation and evaluating what may have caused them will help you develop a strategy for solving them. You can then use that knowledge to help avoid similar issues going forward and steer your implementation in the right direction.
  • Your implementation has been delayed. Sometimes progress on your implementation halts due to unforeseen circumstances, such as changes in management, mergers or acquisitions, or other projects that take priority. When this happens, it’s important to re-evaluate your content strategy before picking your implementation back up again. The circumstances may have changed enough that your original content strategy (if you had one) may not be relevant anymore. You may have different business goals, budget concerns, or tools and technologies to consider before you move forward.
  • Your implementation has failed. You had a content problem, you tried implementing a solution, and it didn’t work. Now you still have the same problem, plus a different one—you’ve sunk cost and time into new tools and processes that didn’t solve your original issue. A failed implementation can make it difficult to get funding for more fixes, especially in the short term. However, you’ll still need to solve your content problems in the long term. When that time comes, a content strategy can help make sure you solve them more effectively and avoid another failed implementation.

The best time to think about content strategy is before you start implementing a new system. Your implementation will be more successful if you think about how your new tools will solve your content problems and address your business goals. But even if your company has already started an implementation, introducing a content strategy can help—and if your circumstances change during the course of an implementation, your strategy should too.

Have you ever faced a situation where you needed to develop a content strategy after your implementation had already begun? What kinds of issues did you face, and how did you address them? Let us know in the comments.